Alyssa Farah is a special Washington correspondent for WND.
Buck Howdy and BB
A few years ago, a musical parent discovered there just wasn’t much clean, safe, wholesome and, well, musical music out there for kids.
Rather than turn his young ones over to Britney and Akon, this parent began creating some.
Before long, other parents were asking for copies of his CDs and MP3s. Maybe, thought the parent, there might actually be a market for this stuff.
That’s the genesis of the Buck Howdy story, whose musical partnership with BB was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Musical Album for Children for the latest release, “Chickens.”
“I have four kids, two girls in college and two young ones,” said Howdy. “I realized there is no music out there for them, so I thought, ‘Shoot, I’ll put some music together.’ Then other people wanted copies of my music so it occurred to me that maybe this is something I could sell.”
But Howdy, who first started making children’s music in the early 1980s, does not define the duo’s music as children’s music. He prefers to call it “family music,” made for the enjoyment of people of all ages.
“There are some very talented artists who do children’s music, but our music isn’t made for only toddlers or young kids, although they love it!” Howdy said. “Everyone can appreciate it. It is western music but it has jazz with blues influence. It’s very sophisticated. The word ‘sophisticated’ has been used to describe it often in reviews.”
Howdy attended the Grammy Awards nearly two decades ago. Like most musicians, he always hoped to someday be nominated for an award himself.
“I went to the Grammys once 20 years ago,” he said. “It was a hoot. I always thought, I’d love to be back here and up for an award. I never really thought it was in the cards though.”
He’ll get his wish to be a part of the 50th annual Grammy Awards ceremony Feb. 10, 2008, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where the Recording Academy will honor the best in music over the past year.
Grammys for children’s CDs have only been given since 1959 when “The Chipmunks,” a novelty act, won. Beginning in 1994, there have been two children’s album Grammy Awards given — one for “spoken word” and the other for “musical album.”
BB, Howdy’s partner, hails from New Jersey and grew up influenced by the big city sound. She also spent time living in Southern California as well as Texas. Howdy credits her greatly for the duo’s success.
“People just love her,” he said. “I watched the first time she went on stage, people just fall in love with her from the get go.”
BB has spent most of her life performing, whether acting in movies or playing music on stage. This is the first Grammy nomination for her as well.
Other nominees for Best Children’s Musical Album include the Muppets, who are previous recipients of the award.
“Chickens,” BB and Buck’s first CD together, recently was honored as one of 2007′s Top 10 kids’ CDs by NPR, the Washington Post, Newhouse News and others.
Buck Howdy has played at the White House three times for the annual Easter Egg Roll. This year he will be performing again but with partner BB for the first time.
“Playing at the White House is always an honor,” he said. “You walk through those gates and feel the history that?s gone on there. The Easter Egg Roll is one of the longest standing traditions and it’s great to be apart of it.”
Howdy says he isn’t nervous about the Grammy Awards yet but expects to be on the actual day of the ceremony. He admits his hope was always just to receive a nomination.
“Before we got the nomination we’d talk about it,” he said. “If we just got the nomination, that’d be a great honor. About a week after the nomination you think ? I’d really like to win. I don?t feel nervous per se, but I know on Grammy night when the envelope comes out I’ll be sitting with my fingers crossed.”